giovedì, maggio 12, 2005

Men of Station

Makus Acher e' una persona deliziosamente silenziosa e quieta. una calma quasi surrelae ed una dedizione per la musica incredibile. un solo aneddoto: un paio di anni fa dividemmo un camerino in quel di heildeberg, durante le pause tra un concerto e l'altro, tra il soundcheck i cambi palco, la cena...beh ecco, potevate trovare markus in attesa sempre al solito posto....davanti ad un powerbook, con una schermata di logic aperta. stava compinendo materiale nuovo. per quele progetto non saprei. al tempo credo fosse materiale dei lali puna. mi piace pensare di aver visto uno dei moneti in cui nasceva un pezzo di faking the books....e mi piace aver visto quale spirito e costanza markus acher dedica alla musica. true till death!

In questi giorni esce l'attesa e splendida collaborazione tra notwist e themselves. e' un disco molto bello, davvero molto bello.

JR: allright markus, Let's get this started with a couple of geographical notes, and I want to focus especially on your native city of Munich. I must sat that I like cities in a rather unconventional way: as trivial as it may sound, I'm not as interested in history and architecture as much as the city's own music scene. That is what I enjoy delving into, which is also a historical interest off course. Across the turn of the century Munich drew comparisons to other famous locations such as Chicago for example for the burgeoning music scene.As overblown as it may sound, I believe this comparison does the city justice in terms of the amount of artists who were involved in a number different projects, at such a high pace. In sharp contrast with that reality , I see today that whilst all the bands who grew popular are still making great music, I can't help but notice a downswing in the amount of new projects popping up.There just doesn't seem to be any new band coming up to break this trend, so I'm left wondering what happened to your music scene, what is missing now that was then ?Can you paint us a picture of the Munich scene as far as who is populating it's underground today ?does the hausmusik collective still play a role in the scheme of things?

Markus Acher: Where we originally come from is Weilheim, a small town about one hour away
from Munich. The uphon-studio is there and all the bands like Notwist,
Console,... started there. Some people (like me) then moved to munich
(because Weilheim is very boring to live in) someday, and we met more and
more people from Munich. But I don't know too much bands from munich
personally. But there is some music here, I like very much: Carl Oesterheld,
who is also playing in MSJohn Soda and TTT, makes really, really great music
between classical composition and Moondog under the name Carlo Fashion. He
also has another band called the Johnsons and he plays together with
Michaela Melian (from the great legendary and still active FSK), who made a
very beautiful record for Monika Enterprises. Christian Heiß, who plays with
us in Lali Puna, makes electronic music under the name Potmanteau. And
Florian Zimmer and Christoph, both ex- and still-Lali-Puna-members just
started a new band, that makes great music. But there is much more happening
in munich, I don't know about.
I personally think it's not so important to always make new bands. We try to
concentrate now on the ones we have and make the best with them...
Hausmusik is a distributor now, located in Munich. They distribute all our
records, for Morrmusic and alien transistor.

JR: By the way I must not forget to tell you how such a huge fan of you and your brothers I have become! so much so that if it was up to me I'd build you a monument right now!. Or no, maybe I should wait 70 more years until your music becomes even more a legend than it is now so that the stone will truly testify to its greatness. I now It sounds really silly, but the words on it would definitely read "to those who fought hard every day to give us the best music ever". On a more serious note, actually i really do think you're some kind of Wunder Bros. The amount of good bands you've been involved in is simply staggering: could you please lay out some chronology of your music career for me? I also get the impression that you've been doing this relentlessly for the better part your lives. Where does that urgency come from ?

Markus Acher: I think, it always comes from being fans of music. We really like to listen
to music, find new interesting bands and records, and share this with
others. And therefore, I like more to work together with others, than to
work alone. And we like to change.
However, I don't know...I don't know what to write...
Here is the list of bands (for Micha and me):
Notwist, village of savoonga, rayon, ogonjok, potawatomi, tied+tickled trio,
Lali Puna, MSJohn Soda, three shades of blues, 13&god

JR: You really come across as the most active guys in the city or even the country at largefor that matter. I see that you're still involved in a number of different projects and you're also involved in collaborative efforts with people from just about everywhere (Tom Shadow Animal Things...the Styrofoam album...). Can you please elaborate on that ?
I believe the most amazing thing you did is the 13+god project: we learned from the press release about you guys first got into it, but what is the actual goal that you want to achieve with that project? And how do you handle collaborations with people who are not from the same area, which carries with it a lot of extra effort ad resources. I imagine people with different backgrounds might not have the same approach as yours, so was it hard to make things happen eventually?

Markus Acher: That's also because we were big fans of the anticon-people's music, before
we met them. And when we met them, we recognized, we will be close friends,
it was, as if we already knew each other for years. Some of the nicest
people, I know. That's why decided to record something together. It was more
interest and fun, than anything else. We didn't know at all what it would
sound like in the end, and it didn't matter.
It was not hard at all. It was very easy. Everybody contributed something
and we appreciated it. It fit perfectly. That why we could finish and mix
this record in the three weeks, they were in munich.

JR: I also read about Chronomad whilst despite being Saam Schlamminger's own project, still reveals your own distinct touch . What are your thoughts on this?

Markus Acher: Saam is a good friend of ours and played on the Neongolden-record. he then
played us some recordings, he had done on his own, that we liked very much.
But he was not totally satisfied. So we only added some small things and
mixed them in our studio, and released them on our label. Saam is a very
special musician. I think his music is totally unique and new. At the moment
he is in Teheran, where he grew up, playing a concert.

JR: I learned that there's a new Lali Puna's record coming. I know it's not an album of new songs but I believe you might have something to say about

Markus Acher: Oh, I don't know... It's a compilation of b-sides, remixes by us and others
and compilation tracks. And it also has two new songs on it.

JR: I remember my visit to Munich some years ago as a tourist. Far from being your regular backpacker, I was mostly on a hunt for musical stimuli, a truly "musical" tourist (I could even write an essay about it). My memories of you are of a very kind and supportive person to me and Mr. Unhip . IT really struck me, however, to learn that you're into Jamaican music. I'm especially curious about what sounds like a rather peculiar taste to me. Does it influence your creativITY at all? You should know that, being still stuck as I am, in the old clichè of german people liking wurstels, beer-drinking songs and heavy-metal, I was quite surprised to see your extensive collection of ska reggae and dancehall stuff, so I hope you can help me dispel my preconceived notions here

Markus Acher: I like the music from Jamaica, because it has a very special way of
combining minimalistic rhythms with melancholic melodies. I learned, that
bass and drums should not only accompany the main melody, they can play
something very different on their own, something that could be song on it's
own (what they are in dubmusic). And also through dubmusic I learned that
you sometimes get more, when you take something away. But first of all it's
beautiful music.

JR: and help me get an idea of what your favourite listenings are now?

Markus Acher:
konono no.1-'kongotronics'
tarwater-'the needle was travelling'
fog-'10th avenue freakout'(lex)
why?-'sanddollars' ep
the ivytree-fatcat split 12"
arthur russell-'world of echo'
psapp-'tiger my friend'
and lots of old jazz-records

JR: Wait I think I forgot to mention yet another project of yours, namely Alien Transistor. I'm sorry to be repeating myself, but you guys are incredible for the amount of stuff that you have produced over the years, and now you even come up with a fully fledged label, which is an especially daring challenging at such a difficult time for music business. Can you elaborate on Alien Transistor's ethics and agenda? Will Notwist release the next album on your own label ?

Markus Acher: I always like to discover new small labels with new music in my favourite
recordshop. I think it's important to keep everything diverse. No monopoles.
we will release the next Notwist-record again on City-slang. but there are
enough new plans with strange music on alientransistor. In some we are also
involved musically.

JR:Finally, I couldn't keep from asking the obvious question: when is the next Notwist album coming out?. it's long awaited, and you know that a lot of kids out there need your gentle songwriting to to produce some new heartbreaking songs for us again

Markus Acher: Oh, we don't know... We will start in june, after touring with 13&god. But
it can take a while. We don't know...

(ringrazio simone "screamo" barbieri per un'aggiustatina al mio inglese)

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